What's up RefinedHype Nation. It's that time of year to break out the "Best ___ Of 2013" lists, and since I'm the guy who's been doing the "
" articles, the boss over here at RefinedHype thought it was only fitting that I give you the best underground projects of the year. What I was looking for when making this list was projects that are unique, consistent, and (of course) dope.
1. ILLFIGHTYOU - ILLFIGHTYOU Mixtape
I honestly can't tell you much about these guys, except that they make dope music and they actually don't give a single fuck. Each track on their self-titled "ILLFIGHTYOU" mixtape is grimy, but nothing short of real. These guys are truly unique, but I would describe their style as a combination of OFWG's lyrical flows and ASAP Mob's banger beats. If you're looking for rappers who respect women and uplift their people ILLFIGHTYOU isn't for you. However, if you're the type to play "not my house", or you have plans to kill someone at some point in the near future, these are the guys for you. Check out their mixtape below, my personal favorites are "Massacre" and "Brooklyn".
2. Felly - Come As You Are
I've posted this Connecticut MC before in my "Dope Underground Rappers You (Probably) Haven't Heard Of" series, and he's done nothing but improve since. Felly is not only a talented rapper, but a very talented producer - creating nothing but chill vibes with beats reminiscent of 9th Wonder. His "Come As You Are" mixtape is the perfect project for the everyday stoner, each track nothing short of smooth, reflecting on the ups and downs of Fel's day to day life. Felly is also proof that there is room in hip-hop for a suburban kid - however it should be noted that said suburban kid has to be talented as hell. Check out his mixtape below, my personal favorites are "Planned to Fall Asleep" and "These Thoughts".
3. Phora - One Life To Live
I've found that Phora has been one of the most consistent MC's in the game over the past two years - and he's only 18 years old. He's similar to Joey Bada$$ in the sense that his music sounds like it was made in the 90's, however his interpersonal subject matter truly connects the listener with him as a person, not just an artist. Phora isn't the type of rapper to focus on similes and punchlines, but the type of rapper to tell his story and uplift his people through his music, making him a true MC. Don't get me wrong through, the dude's got slick flows for days. Look for him to have a HUGE year in 2014, I have a feeling people are going to finally take notice. Check out his mixtape below, my personal favorites are "90's Baby" and "The Old Days".
Polo Perks Is Building a Future From Pieces of the Past
We talk to the Surf Gang artist about microdosing alternative music in his raps.
Phora - One Life To Live brought to you by Hotnewhiphop
4. Dillon Cooper - Cozmik
Coop is nothing short of a beast when it comes to flows. This Brooklyn MC is further proof that New York is nothing to fuck with, using a crazy suave flow to deliver brutally honest lyrics ("Big up, big up, it's a stick up, stick up // Call the muthafuckin' cops, they don't pick up") on each track. The thing that makes this 19 year old MC unique is that he chooses to rap over both boom-bap and trap beats (it should be noted that he does both well), making music for everyone. Check out his mixtape below, my personal favorites are "I Ain't Havin' It" and "Gambit".
5. Cam Meekins - Lamp City
I'll be honest, when I first heard Cam Meekins back in 2011 I thought he was just another frat rapper. However, over the past two years he's done nothing but prove me wrong as he's grown into a polished and truly unique artist - most recently demonstrated on his "Lamp City" album. Lamp City is filled with introspective lyrics and fresh beats, consistently bringing a mellow sound with a real life feeling - perfect for someone who is tired of the same old braggadocios claims that most hip-hop jams tend to relay today. Long story short, "Lamp City" is a chapter in the life of a chill ass dude trying to make a living off of his passion. Check out the album below (
), my personal favorites are "Lamp City Family" and "Truckers".
There you have it RefinedHype, the best underground projects of 2013. Feel free to leave some other projects for me to check out in the comments or on twitter (
), as I'm always looking for some new music. Happy Holidays!